Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Proposed law would grant working moms breastfeeding rights

Last year, I wrote that even though Ohio has one of the country’s most liberal breastfeeding laws, it likely does not protect a mom’s workplace lactation rights. Moreover, few courts have protected breastfeeding and expressing breast milk under current workplace sex discrimination laws.

A potential new federal law could change all that. Identical bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that would require employers to accommodate working moms’ breastfeeding needs at work. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act [PDF] would make three significant changes to existing laws:

  • Amend Title VII to include lactation (breastfeeding or the expression of milk) in the definition of sex discrimination.

  • Amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to require that employers provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth”, and make “reasonable efforts to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion” for an employee to express breast milk.

  • Amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide a tax credit for employers that provide an appropriate workplace environment for employed moms to breastfeed or express milk.

It’s difficult to say how much traction the BPA has, but this bill is definitely one that warrants watching.

[Hat tip: World of Work]

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or